Mediants and the Making of Narrative Assemblages
Author(s): Appadurai, Arjun
In this lecture, I will highlight the ways in which the current world of financial markets, mechanisms, and risk-taking is saturated with linguistic and literary forms. These include the promissory language of derivatives, the public pronouncements of central bankers, and the internal narratives of financial analysts. Finance today has a deep literary infrastructure that needs to be recognized and demystified. When we think about finance, our main association is with an ocean of numbers: stock prices, interest rates, currency exchange values, profit-earnings ratios, mortgage costs, credit ratings, and many other elements in the financial world are numerically expressed. We are also led to believe that financial managers and entrepreneurs are mathematics whizzes and that their work is inscrutable to the rest of us because it is too numerically complex for us. Yet, finance itself is deeply saturated with narrative and linguistic forms to which numbers are entirely subordinate or marginal. What are the forms and functions of the literature of global finance? I will use this question to combine my interest in derivative finance with my interest in mediants and mediation, on both of which I have published some work.
Appadurai, Arjun: Mediants and the Making of Narrative Assemblages. Siegen: Universität Siegen: SFB 1187 Medien der Kooperation 2019 (SFB 1187 Medien der Kooperation – Working Paper Series 6). DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/12639.
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